Asus uBoom 2.1 Notebook Soundbar review

3 Nov 2009

Big brash and very loud, but Asus' laptop speakers lack subtlety

Price when reviewed: 
85inc VAT
3

If there's one thing we're all agreed upon here at PC Pro, it's that the majority of laptop speakers are simply not up to scratch. With an increasing number of people buying laptops for use as their main PC, there's clearly room for improvement.

That's where Asus' uBoom laptop speaker bar comes in, adding much-needed audio muscle in a rather unusual package.

It certainly makes a big first impression: its big, butch aluminium structure feels tough and strong, and it boasts three drivers – two at each end for stereo sound and a third for bass.

Attached to the main tube is another smaller tube topped with a rubber strip, designed to prop your laptop up on. Connection is via USB or 3.5mm input, with a further 3.5mm microphone connection for PA-type announcements or sing-alongs.

Asus uBoom 2.1 Notebook Soundbar laptop prop

Sound quality reflects the big brash design. It goes extremely loud without distorting, and kicks out a well-defined, extremely clear sound with clean, powerful bass.

Alas, there's no subtlety at all: a lack of richness and smoothness to the mid range and bass leads to a harsh, hard-edged sound that just isn't easy to listen to for extended periods. It's simply too bright.

And to make matters worse, the laptop prop isn't designed well either. It's too shallow, so opening your laptop lid can cause it to fall off, while most will find it too high, creating an uncomfortable angle to type on.

All in all, the uBoom is a disappointment, from both a design and sound quality point of view, and it's not cheap either. We'd go for a decent pair of standard stereo speakers over this, any day of the week.

Details

Price ex VAT £74
Price inc VAT £85
Overall rating 3
Performance 3
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 2

Basic specifications

Speaker type 2.1
Speaker power ouput 24W

Inputs

RCA (phono) inputs 0
3.5mm audio input jacks 2
Optical S/PDIF inputs 0
Electrical S/PDIF inputs 0
USB audio inputs 1
Wired remote power/volume control no